GOLDBOX – OFFSHORE

Recommendation: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Elemental 95 is one of the most prolific sources of vaporwave music, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s one of the original labels in the scene when considering its massive, varied, and successful catalogue. In fact, the label started up in May 2015 as a co-ownership between baconwave and Phoenix #2772 (the latter of which is no longer a part of the venture) – much later than one might expect, considering that its primary focus is classic-style vaporwave. Throughout the last two years, Elemental 95 has occasionally branched out into other subgenres such as ambient vaporwave, hypnagogic drift, and vaportrap/vaporhop – but its main shtick continues to be classic-style.

OFFSHORE is one such album. It’s the seventh overall release from Elemental 95, having been issued on 18 August 2015. It consists of ten classic-style tracks in about fifteen minutes. OFFSHORE is a short release, but the mini-album format has always been a format particularly suited to classic-style, as seen with releases by artists such as computer slime, DARKPYRAMID, and Synthetic Virtue – in addition to the first season of DMT Tapes FL. The longest is the three-minute “I KNOW”, which is also the only track to extend past two minutes. Many tracks feature artifacts in the sound that result from the classic-style samplism that incorporates digitally pitch-/tempo-shifting the source material, as can be best heard on each snare hit of songs such as “SO GOOD”. There are occasionally Japanese spoken word samples that drift over the adult contemporary music, as in “ENJOY” and “I KNOW”.

Many early and contemporary classic-style vaporwave albums made use of certain gimmicks to stand out among the myriad of releases that are little more than sample curation with some chopped-and-screwed effects. For OFFSHORE, it’s the utilization of non-stop stereo panning. The results are mixed. When listened from computer speakers or similar devices that are basically point-vectors in the way the sound approaches the ears, this adds a mild surreality. When listened via headphones or car speakers, it’s incredibly dizzying. The oscillating effect never goes away, and it can easily make this album nearly unlistenable. Using the pan on one or tracks is okay, but it’s everywhere on this album, which is generally annoying and takes a lot of fun out some otherwise pretty decent samples. If the pan doesn’t bother you all that much – or if you just listen from speakers that are basically the same as listening in mono – then check out OFFSHORE. Those who have less constitution should skip it.

 

Tracklist


1. RIDE – (1:58)
2. BEACH – (1:03)
3. I KNOW – (3:00)
4. YOUR LOVE – (1:28)
5. SO GOOD – (1:08)
6. SKY – (1:02)
7. ENJOY – (1:46)
8. BREAK – (0:58)
9. HAND ELEVEN – (1:34)
10. SUN – (1:22)


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